How are servers – and other restaurant staff – connecting with guests now that they have to wear face masks and avoid contact? And how do guests know when servers are smiling?
The personal touch is a key part of the restaurant experience, but new safety protocols have upended that experience. Servers need to work extra hard to create that feeling of welcome. Has the thumbs-up become a new form of communication between servers and guests to signify satisfaction? Or has “eye talk” become the norm? And how are operators training staff to replicate the warm, welcoming feeling of the “old days”?
“Smiling is part of service,” says Jeff Dover, Principal at fsStrategy Inc. “So, with masks, eye contact is important.” Masks can be adapted, he adds:
Changes to server communication need to be part of a bigger strategy of letting guests know what you are doing to keep them safe.
Here are other tips from Dover for servers adjusting to the new restaurant normal. Many of them, you have probably already instituted:
“…it is about making people feeling comfortable dining again,” Dover says. “I also think thanking them for coming back and supporting your business will go a long way and be appreciated.
Jane Auster is the editor of ChefConnexion.com. She has been a foodservice writer and editor for more than 30 years. Jane was the editor of Your Foodservice Manager, a national magazine for professionals in the foodservice and hospitality industry in Canada, and FoodBiz.ca digital site. She was also an editorial consultant and managing editor for the relaunch of Flavours magazine.